Back in 1995, Pixar’s Toy Story became the first fully computer-animated feature film, and it went on to gross nearly $200 million to became that year’s #1 box office draw.  Toy Story came at a time when traditional animation had just set a new box office record with the previous year’s The Lion King, but it’s influence would eventually kill traditional animation for the most part.  Sad, unintended, but true.  Nearly every animated movie you see is computer-generated now.  This weekend, Jonason’s Movies released a full-on live-action version of the film on YouTube.  It became an instant mega-hit.

Here it is.  A full hour and twenty minute remake of Toy Story:

What is getting the most acclaim about this video is how creators Jesse Perrotta and Jonason Pauley have nailed down every detail in the shots, from the camera angle to the smallest thing in the background.  It took 2 years to get this movie made.  Visually, it’s remarkable.  When the East Valley Tribune wrote about this project back in October, it was mentioned that Pauley’s parents allowed them to convert two rooms of the house into the Toy Story set.

Perrotta and Jonason turned in the movie to Pixar a few months ago and were awaiting their response.  Because Pixar fears that millions of amateur animators around the world would want their advice, they don’t comment on fan-created art.  But a week ago, Perrotta and Jonason were invited out to Pixar’s home base (which is awesome) and were given the blessing to post this sucker on YouTube.  I’m just guessing, but they probably can’t profit from it.  But they do get the thrill of being allowed to show their work to as many people as possible.  And hey, publicity can turn into other projects in the future.  Right now, the remake has 1.5 million views in just a couple of days.

This reminds me of that crowdsourced Star Wars that came out last year, where Casey Pugh asked thousands of people to recreate 15 seconds of a particular section of the film, and then edited it all together.  That also took 2-3 years to get done.  He’s doing The Empire Strikes Back next.

This type of work can be rewarding in many ways, even though money directly through the project isn’t one of them.  But it can teach you things about creating video, and you can get a lot of attention if you do it right.